Monthly Archives: December 2003

Happy New Year and whooo-hooo.

Happy New Year and whooo-hooo. 2004 already promises to be pretty
exciting here in the boonies. I feel like I’m part of a snowball
rolling down a mountainside.

I had lunch today with Mark Montgomery, Founder and Managing Director
of Initium Capital (www.initiumcapital.com) , a nascent venture
capital firm specializing in early-stage life science and information
technologies. Initium is Latin for beginning, or commencement. How
fitting.

Tomorrow Mark is announcing that the fund’s General Partners have
decided to establish the company’s headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ,
despite having been asked to relocate several times. He has been
working on this project for over eighteen months, under the radar and
behind the scenes. I’d say he was in stealth mode, but we hadn’t
heard about him either 🙂

If this fund actually materializes as he thinks it will, Mark will
have put together the state’s first venture capital fund since the
change of leadership at ASU and the creation of TGen.

The Fund, which has commitments for about $250 million from
institutional limited partners, is now looking for General Partners
(people who can commit full time without a paycheck) with industry
expertise in life sciences or information technology and geographic
desirability (they live in Arizona or nearby). The current General
Partners have initially allocated only a modest portion of the
planned $250 million Fund 1 to be invested in Arizona start-ups, but
the amount is expected to increase as the recent Arizona investments
in research and development mature.

Fund 1 also contains provisions for a significant Fund of Fund
allocation in seed firms targeting pre-institutional investment
within life sciences and information technology. This, as you know,
is the kind of money I believe we REALLY need for local companies.

Initium will also continue to negotiate with venture teams on both
coasts for future expansion opportunities during the ongoing shakeout
in venture capital worldwide.

What makes Mark Montgomery think he can succeed at this? Things are
different in the venture capital business now, Montgomery says. It’s
a good time to start a fund because many of the big funds are
unwinding their commitments and the partners are retiring. That
leaves some talent up for grabs. And the institutional investors are
requiring more transparency, which makes Montgomery feel comfortable.
He feels he can provide that to his limited partners.

Montgomery has been running a private incubator here since 1995, from
his home in Dewey, outside of Prescott. He made a “lifestyle” move
here from Seattle when that community became costly and impersonal.
Like most people who came to Arizona, he loves it here, and wants to
stay. So he’s trying his best to get the fund going here.

And for him and his partner, Rob Kennedy (formerly with Koch
Ventures) it’s not a matter of luring the investors. They need
partners ready to share the decision-making and management risks of
venture capital fund. Since Koch moved to Dallas, Kennedy has been in
South Florida and South Dakota. He has been commuting to both
places. He’d like to stay home.

“We believe Arizona is compelling given a number of economic
development initiatives taking hold. Initium Capital will be in a
great position to participate in this development, locating here is
the right thing to do” added Kennedy, CFO and Managing Partner. “We
have reviewed several hundred partner applicants during our search
efforts, and remain confident that we will attract top tier talent to
Arizona”.

What does all this mean? It means we all get down on our knees and
pray to the capital formation gods that good General Partner
candidates materialize in this market � enough to enable Infinium to
close its fund in the first half of 2004. It also means we
collaborate with Infinium, and share our knowledge and connections
with the company.

Most important, it means we may have evolved our economic development
efforts to the point where outsiders think we are a big enough, solid
enough economy to bet on.

People who try to start venture capital firms in Arizona have to be
crazy. If they were sane, they’d just start real estate partnerships
or invest in mortgages. But every once in a while, it’s nice to break
bread with a few crazies: without them, nothing different would ever
happen.

See you next year!

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Christmas is different this year.

Christmas is different this year. Yes, we�ve got the tree and the lights and the family together. We�re frantic, and crowded, as usual. The dog bit another dog, the washing machine overflowed and flooded the hardwood floor, and we�ve all gained some weight.

But the biggest difference between this and every other Christmas is that we no longer have John Hardaway, the father of my two daughters, with us.

Although John and I were divorced in 1980, he remained my co-parent and my dear friend. We often celebrated the childrens� birthdays, graduations, Thanksgiving, and Christmas together. Three years ago, when he was first diagnosed with the illness that finally felled him, I showed up at the hospital as soon as he was admitted. When he recovered and went on to marry his long-time girlfriend and build a home in Payson, I was overjoyed.

But suddenly, over Thanksgiving, he had a recurrence of the disease and immediately began to fail. By Sunday of Thanksigiving week-end, he had passed. We still can�t believe he�s not with us. The girls are devastated.

John was a gentle man, an intellectual, a spectacular father, a lifelong devotee of the English language. He was a Mark Twain scholar, and shared Twain�s sophisticated, ironic sense of humor, even though he didn�t share Twain�s bitterness: �one of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed it. They also believed the world was flat.� That�s Twain, not John. John�s Mark Twain was the guy who wrote, �To be good is noble, but to show others how to be good is nobler, and no trouble.� That�s what John did: he not only provided an example of goodness, but devoted his life to teaching � showing others how to be good.
He was a Professor of English and Chairman of the English Department at Phoenix College for over forty years. He hired me when I first came to Arizona, sight unseen from my diminutive resume. And he never lost his faith in me as a person, even when I went down paths he didn�t wish to follow.
He sired my two wonderful daughters, and then he took up the role of primary parent. He took them to the dentist, the library, and the dancing lessons when I was too busy with my business. He saved every piece of correspondence they sent him, even the notes they wrote their schoolfriends in fifth grade. He taught them to play tennis, to read, and to love language. He treated them like little treasures, applauding their smallest accomplishments.
�It is a wise child that knows its own father, and an unusual one that unreservedly approves of him,� Twain said. John�s children knew him well, because he allowed himself to be known to them. And they unreservedly approved of him, because there was nothing to disapprove of; he lived a virtuous and generous life, fulfilling all obligations and sharing his love with them every day.
The girls will miss him terribly.

Generations of students, including those he taught at Phoenix Union, Alhambra and Central High Schools, enjoyed his wry sense of humor and patient manner as they learned from him about linguistics, rhetoric, and random Mark Twain anecdotes.

In memory of John, his love of learning and his devotion to teaching, his family has established The John M. Hardaway Scholarship Fund, to be awarded to a high potential Phoenix College student majoring in English.

Phoenix College, where John taught classes year-round and in the evenings, is a community college offering over 200 degree and certificate programs to students who might not otherwise be able to afford an advanced education.

I�m not a person who often asks for help. But this year, as you contemplate Christmas and the pleasures of family, please think of my daughters and their loss, and help them honor their dad by contributing to the John M. Hardaway Scholarship Fund at Phoenix College, Office of Alumni and Development, 1202 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013. We need to raise money to get the scholarship going. Your tax-deductible donation will help.

Many thanks for your good wishes, and Season�s Greetings from our home to yours.

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Left Right, Left Right So

Left Right, Left Right

So let’s see. The common wisdom is that the Democrats are now doomed, because the economy’s better and Saddam Hussein is in custody. The talk shows are full of encomiums for Bush. But why?

Because we caught a guy with a toothache who was living in a black hole, and we are going to do everything short of torture him to get information?

What could he possibly know? He didn’t even have a phone.

He was getting his information by courier on an intermittent schedule. We still haven’t found his weapons of mass destruction. And we can’t prove that he was tied to the events of 9/11, which triggered the whole costly war on terrorism. Capturing him set off even more insurgency, especially since we have not turned him over to the Iraqis so they can try him themselves.

I’m uncomfortable with all the political posturing that has gone on around this event—that of the Republicans as well as the Democrats. There are real problems out there that we don’t have time to solve because we are focussing on a former figurehead, who is now of no use to anyone. Like the Israel-Palestine situation, and the Afghanistan situation, and the lack of affordable health insurance and the decline of the education system and the mysterious disappearance of Osama bin Laden and the fact that everyone in the world hates us and is competing with our fragile economy.

The politicians are powerless to solve any of these problems with their usual bags of tricks.

David Broder said it most succinctly on Sunday, when he was talking to Tim Russert on “Meet the Press”: politicians will have to get used to the fact that world events are out of their control, and that the best leader will be the one who makes the quickest, most adaptive response to the unexpected. Party lines no longer apply. Old party platforms no longer apply. How can you be a Democrat defending unions when the agreements reached could cause jobs to shift off-shore? How can you be a Republican and enact trade barriers to protect the steel industry? Indeed, how can you adhere to a strict party line in the chaotic world we live in?

Hmmmm. We will have to groom an entire new batch of leaders. The ones we have now are dedicated to slowing down just about every process they can, in an effort to reach consensus and compromise so they can declare victory to their constituents and get re-elected.

Their unwillingness to be entrepreneurial in their solutions, to take real risk, leads to botched legislation like the Medicare reform bill that just passed. These defective laws have a way of producing unintended consequences: perhaps the new law will drive all the private insurance companies out of the Medicare market, or perhaps it will cause the deaths of Americans who haven’t yet spent their deductibles on prescription medicines but still can’t afford to buy them and food in the same month.

I’ve been listening to William Novelli defend the AARP’s stand on this legislation. I find it difficult to forget that before he was the CEO of AARP, Novelli was the founder of Porter-Novelli, one of the country’s largest public relations firms. The firm was founded to apply marketing to health and social issues. Novelli’s an expert, his own bio says, in “social marketing.” This means the marketing of social policies and ideas.

We have quite a few experts in “social marketing” running around the government these days. The cart is before the horse; we have few social policies worth marketing, and no real experts in the development of social policy itself.

I’m sure Howard Dean is unelectable. I’m sure he has shifted positions on some issues. However, there are two things that cannot be taken from him: his brother died in Viet Nam, in an incident tangential to the war; and he has practiced medicine in the current environment. These two life experiences give him knowledge that determines his “left wing” politics.

In fact, because he has that knowledge, and expresses opinions based on his experience, the “right wing” talk shows have labeled him as “left wing.” What’s left? What’s right? What is truly conservative? Isn’t it preserving constitutional liberties, promoting free markets, and respecting man’s inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Then why are we detaining Muslims, killing children, and favoring the pharmaceutical industry?

Not trying to come down on one side or the other here – just trying to point out the futility of trying to apply the old labels to current events.

.

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TEACHING THE TEACHER Although I

TEACHING THE TEACHER

Although I routinely rely on my talented friends and colleagues as outsourced resources for the FastTrac program we offer in Phoenix, and they always impress the participants, every once in a while a speaker ignites the group in a special way. Last night, Nigel Brooks (www.bldsolutions.com) gave a presentation so intense that the participants not only sat rapt throughout the break, but also stayed beyond the end � no mean feat, because each session ends at 8:30 PM.

Nigel�s presentation was a great riff on what business is actually all about. He developed the themes of entrepreneurship, leadership, and management in business, and detailed the role of each one. An entrepreneur, he said, is the one willing to take the risk to turn ideas into products and services to start a business. That�s different from a business owner, who starts a business to create a sustainble enterprise, probably to enhance his lifestyle (or so he or she thinks). Not all business owners are entrepreneurs (some are actually risk-averse) and not all entrepreneurs can deal with the chores involved in building a business around of their ideas.

I had never heard it put quite like that before. But Nigel�s take on it answers a question I always ask myself: why are entrepreneurs such lousy business people?

Because they�re not supposed to be business people, dummy. They are supposed to be innovators. The most meaningful way to understand the phenomenon of entrepreneurship, according to Nigel, lies in analyzing the personality profiles of people in the workplace. 46% of workers favor process, and 44 favor structure. Only 6% are idea people. I�ve forgotten what the other 4% favor, but it�s not important. The 6% are the entrepreneurs; the ones who take risk, fight authority, and create cool products and services. In the best case, a professional CEO comes in after the entrepreneur and runs the business, while the entrepreneur stays on and continues to create. Think about Bill Gates, who took himself out of the CEO role at Microsoft so he could be Chief Software Architect, or Howard Schulz, who took himself out of the CEO role at Starbucks. These guys are innovators, and they want to stay in roles within their companies that will allow them to continue to innovate.

There�s a third category besides entrepreneur and business owner, and that�s the manager � the hired gun who doesn�t own the business but allocates its resources to keep the company in business. Most successful businesses end up in the hands of professional managers.

Each of these roles is appropriate to a different stage of the business, and Nigel identified three stages. In the first stage, the entrepreneur starts the company and concentrates on the product or the service, developing its features and benefits, securing patents and trademarks, and figuring out the value proposition.

In the second stage, the product or service gets a business built around it. At this point, what�s required are leadership skills � the ability to motivate people to perform to their highest potential. Sometimes, this is where the founder gets deposed in favor of someone with more charisma. Here, too, the business must begin to address the needs of all its constituencies: employees, investors, customers, regulators, suppliers, and competitors.

And in the third stage, the business must become sustainable. That�s the stage where management comes in, and the needs of third party investors are addressed. The needs of those employees who require structure and process are addressed here, too.

From this framework, it becomes apparent that there�s a reason early stage companies are not attractive to capital. The leaders and managers are not yet in place, the management team doesn�t act like a team, and the product hasn�t been tested in the market. There�s really nothing to invest in �yet.

According to Nigel, good companies are built by transformational leaders who build high-performing, self-managed teams from a base of sound values. No matter what the product or service, it�s the people who really make a business successful, and the leaders who empower the people. That�s why venture capitalists, when they invest in a company, often shove the founder aside for a tried and tested management team they�ve worked with before.

Although I deal with these issues on an almost daily basis, dealing with them is different from considering them and thinking about their meaning and repercussions. Nigel made all of this come alive for us in a new way last night. You had to be there�

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INDEPENDENT LIVING PRODUCTS BECOMES ACTIVE

INDEPENDENT LIVING PRODUCTS BECOMES ACTIVE FOREVER

Looking for a unique gift for someone who has arthritis, has been injured, or is just feeling the unfortunate effects of getting older? Or perhaps you would like to make your own life a bit more comfortable?

Active Forever (www.activeforever.com) has opened its first Discovery Center at 10799 N. 90th Street in Scottsdale (just north of Shea Blvd). At the Center, which is laid out like a home, you can see an array of daily living aids that can increase quality of life, including the Power Open Up Jar Opener and the long-handled toenail clipper, as well as bath benches and mobility scooters.

Active Forever is about making life easier for people. Hang out with ACTIVE FOREVER, and you’ll never have to get out of bed or bend over. And they also carry a portable Laser/TENS machine no larger than a fountain pen that treats chronic pain, sprains, pulls and fibromyalgia.

The Center is open daily from 8-5, and if you can�t get there in person you may order from their website, which contains a database of over 500 products. If you don�t see something you need, ACTIVE FOREVER has relationships with manufacturers for great pricing on over 10,000 products.

Perhaps you like to read. Then you�ll need the Levo Book Holder, which offers six unique movements to place your book perfectly in the most comfortable ergonomic reading position. You�ve never experienced such comfortable reading. Levo is the only bookholder on the market that can hold a 5 lb book completely upside down.

Or perhaps you�d like to own the Incline Aquatic Treadmill, which lets you use your pool to burn more calories than you would on land without harming your joints. There�s a special on the treadmill this month.

And then there are the fun and clever �kits,� which are already packaged as gifts.

There�s the Steady Hands Kit, a great assortment of helpful items for anyone with tremors. It comes with many items that someone with frequent hand tremors or a weakened hand condition needs to make everyday life easier. Reduce frustration while dining with the Good Grips(R) Weighted Utensils Set (Weighted Rocker Knife, Fork, Teaspoon, and “Souper Spoon); use the leverage of the Good Grips Jar Opener in the kitchen; feel more secure when paying bills with the Check Writing Guide, a template that makes it easier to write out checks neatly; and enjoy reading with a Book Butler to hold a book, newspaper, or magazine open and steady.

The Magnified Magnificence Kit, for women of �a certain age,� provides a great value on the beautiful Jerdon(R) Nickel-Plated 5X Illuminated Wall Mirror, featuring 5X magnification on one side and 1X magnification on the other; the EZ Pickens Magnifying Tweezers; and the fabulous aromatic NeckEase to soothe away tension and soreness in the neck and shoulders.

The Complete Hip Replacement Kit will be welcomed by anyone recovering from hip surgery. This kit of household necessities includes:
� Sock Aid;
� 24″ Stainless Steel Shoehorn;
� 32″ Reacher;
� Bendable Contoured Sponge on a long handle;
� Dressing Stick;
� One pair black 26″ Elastic Shoelaces
� One pair white 26″ Elastic Shoelaces

But if nothing�s wrong with you (right now) and you�re just interested in increasing your quality of life, there�s always the Workplace Comfort Kit, with the items you’ll need to spend a more comfortable day at the office. This kit contains
� Er-Go Rest Wrist Rest for comfort and protection to the wrists while typing, complete with the option
to apply heat or cold to wrists while working;
� The Easy Glide Mouse Pad featuring a built in gel wrist pad.
� Soft Touch Scissors that are easy to grip and open
� Dr. Grip Retractable Pen which fits comfortably in your hand.

Active Forever prides itself on offering the lowest prices, the best customer service, and same day shipping.

According to Chairman Erika Feinberg, “We are in business to make a difference. We want to always surprise people with our thoughtful and interesting selection, great pricing and energetic service. We’ll even customize what we carry in stock locally, for the community. If we hear a demand for something in particular, we’ll do our research, negotiate with suppliers, and provide the best choice at the best price for our customers. We don’t stop until everyone has a big smile on their faces.”

ACTIVE FOREVER is working closely with a number of non-profits such as ALS Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Foundation, the Easter Seals S.E.A.L.S. program, and others, to help them accomplish their missions, and is also forming partnerships to donate a percentage of sales back into the non-profits.

Call for a catalogue at 1.800.377.8033

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